Finding clues to a Back-story … Cathal

Another look at how Colin prepares himself to inhabit a character and make it real.

backstory clues

Colin.Cathal.interview

This comment by Colin gives us a further glimpse into the kind of work and thought he puts into understanding any role, rounding out the person and making them whole, beyond the script.  Writing pages and pages, building the picture in his mind of who this person is, where he came from, the influences that brought him to the point where the filmed story begins.  Colin has said many times, “you have to do the work” … a committed and dedicated artist, not only to Cathal, but to every role.

(Thanks to Georgina Dawe,  first for her creative artwork … then for finding this portion of an interview by Colin … comments we had not previously seen.)

Parked … Review by Doha

splash-of-starscathal in painColin’s sensitive portrayal of Jake has brought us back, yet again, to Cathal.  What follows is an outstanding review of that film, and an eloquent description of this gift Colin shares with us so valiantly.

4.0 out of 5 stars … There’s something about Colin Morgan, September 24, 2012.
By Doha . This review is from: Parked [Region 2] (DVD) . I (Doha) watched this film because of Colin Morgan.

Parked is difficult to sum up in a sentence or a paragraph, because like every good film, it isn’t about one thing or a few things. Threads run over and under each other, themes weave in and out. At the end, I find myself wondering what, really, it *was* about.

Fred Daly has recently returned to Ireland, having spent some years in England. Without a job, without a fixed address, his life is in his car. The day Cathal pulls into the same carpark, things in Fred’s life begin to roll and shift. Cathal has a good heart, and the young man and the older man form an unlikely friendship that will change them both. And yet – it isn’t unlikely at all. Both Cathal and Fred are at a point in their lives where they are lost and drifting; part of their effect on each other is that they give each other direction, a sense of anchorage and a place to moor at the end of the day. ‘Parked’ turns out to be a metaphor for both Fred and Cathal’s life, and the film is the story of changing, finding direction and the momentum to keep moving. The scene at the very close is a beautiful example of that circularity and momentum.

I recommend anyone watching or thinking of watching Parked to go on over to YouTube and watch some interviews with Colin Morgan (i.e. at the Mannheim Film Festival) talking about how he prepared for the role of Cathal – how in portraying him, “that drugs isn’t the main thing – it’s the person. I don’t say ‘I’m playing a drug addict’, because that’s not how anyone would describe themselves. When I went in and met those people, I did say, ‘hello my name’s Colin’, and they didn’t go, ‘hello, I’m a drug addict’.”

There’s something about Colin Morgan – he looks into the soul of his character, the story he is a part of, and gives you a piece of artistry that makes you think THIS. THIS is what acting is all about. He has an instinct for seeing what a person is made of, and the curiosity and knack for asking the right questions – and in addition to all that, the wisdom to know not every question has an easily-told answer. These are some of the things that make him different – I’d say that those qualities are what make him the actor that he is, rather than the reverse.

A lot of people, I’m sure, will watch or hear about this film because of Colin Morgan (best known for his role in the BBC’s Merlin); he is that rare person who can sell the idea that acting is art. He’s not a performer – he is an *artist*, and that is a very different thing. He brings a depth and nuance to his work that few young actors do, because he is looking inward, revealing and discovering layers within layers, wheels inside wheels. It’s not something done for people, for an audience – we just get to witness this extraordinary interaction between person and idea that creates a kind of third space, the acting that is really being. And that is our privilege.

As a final note, I don’t mean to dismiss the other actors in this film, by talking so much about Colin Morgan. Honestly speaking, I don’t know too much about them, while I have been following Morgan’s work. I keep saying it, but I think Colin Morgan is special even among his own kind. Watch him.

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This review gave rise to a discussion between Suntse and Maldru, which resulted in a year-long correspondence, a wonderfully meaningful correspondence, between them.

(Your initial post: Jan 8, 2013 6:06:26 PM PST)
Suntse: I completely loved this review. It’s true, “there’s something about Colin Morgan” … What is it about this young actor? Why am I so drawn to him and his portrayals? So much of it is silent … a hesitation … a swallow … the lowering of the eyes, the quick and easy smile, the tear stained face. Emotion unspoken, conveyed to us with gentle power. It is gratifying to read a review that captures these same feelings … many thanks, Doha, for saying it so well.

“He’s not a performer – he is an*artist*, and that is a very different thing.” … “the acting that is really `being'”  He embodies the character and brings it alive. He really defies description. His face reflects nuances of emotion that cannot be explained. He comes into your heart and stays there. He is unforgettable.

maldru:  I’ve been thinking that Colin, like all truly talented actors, is “living” his character, he’s able to become Cathal/Merlin/Colum; and the tragedy they, respectively, represent cannot fail to break our hearts. Mine for sure! I don’t even see it as artistry anymore, I live it too, and continue living it for a long time after watching, cannot stop the tears…   But what to do with the heartbreak? How to get out of it? To heal?  That is the question! At least, it makes it easier to know that I’m not alone in this…

Suntse:  …..Please read this response in the tone of a gentle reply to an earnest question. … We do not get out of the heartbreak. I don’t think we are meant to get out of it. That compassion we feel is important to us as caring human souls. Perhaps that is why we revisit it even though it still strikes at our hearts. Colin brings us there … I think that is part of who he is also … perhaps that is why he has always wanted to be an actor … a storyteller in the ancient sense.


In reply to your post on May 22, 2013 1:40:37 PM PDT

Doha:  Oh, friends, I’m so glad you’re making friends over my review! I made a really wonderful friend over a different review, and I’m not kidding when I say I’ve written over a hundred emails all about Colin Morgan. ‘We do not get out of the heartbreak’ = truth.

Suntse: Doha: I am so glad you are noticing our comments on your wonderful review. And, yes, Maldru and I are finding much common ground in our appreciation of Parked, Island, Merlin, and especially, of Colin Morgan. I believe heartbreak, as well as joy, the emotional connections we have to each other, are an essential element of our humanity. Colin brings us to it, and we are grateful for it.

Parked … Interview at IFFMH *

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A recent inquiry by Drew has led me back , again, to the timeless film, “Parked”.   We are re-posting this interview, and hope any newcomers will enjoy it along with us.

Colin:  what can one say?   Serious, intelligent, articulate, brilliant …

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This interview is a big favorite of mine.  I have saved and watched it many, many times over the years since it was first published in November 2011.  It had been difficult to understand in some places, but now the wonderful Koushuidou Fansubgroup has published it again with English subtitles.  This interview is in 5 parts … every one of them well worth the time.  I predict you will watch it many times, learn a lot … and fall in love with Colin over and over again!

(Apparently YouTube has removed the ability to post this as a playlist, but the individual links still work, one at a time.  So, I have provided the links to all 5 parts and have embedded the 3rd one for this posting.  This 3rd part is the one where Colin speaks of his preparation for the role.)

International Film Festival, Mannheim, Germany, November 2011

Parked

A kind follower has requested our comments regarding that brilliant film.  Having just published a video interview on the same subject, it seems a good place to start.

Best Performances: Parked

This is an unforgettable film. I watched it on a Saturday morning well over two years ago and, still, merely thinking about it, certain images return. They are difficult and haunting and have to do with Cathal’s deterioration. Having followed Colin Morgan for some time I have learned that he puts a lot of study into his portrayals because he says it is important to him to be genuine and authentic. And that is what we see. Colin often portrayed Cathal with his chin pulled way in … tucked into his adam’s apple. It was particularly noticeable in the swimming pool and gave his face a distorted appearance. He was very bouncy with his walk. I think it was part of portraying the hyperactivity of drug use … the jittery, never stand still quality of revved up metabolism. He does change physically, it seems, with every role so far. He is a chameleon.

Cathal.5    Cathal.6 - Copy

Subliminal Memory: It took a long time before I could watch “Parked” for the second time: Having finally done so, I was a wreck. I had cried a lot the first time through … cried for a very long time … had images in my head for weeks. This time there were huge sobs coming from deep inside, and I couldn’t stop them. They started very early with hearing Fred’s Theme. It invoked the story again … it was alive from the first chords. my intention is to describe how this film resides within us, what a masterpiece it is … that merely hearing Fred’s theme brings it back … sadness, hope, devastation, heartbreak and all. This time, we know where the story is going … the tragedy that is waiting to befall Fred’s young friend, who has also become our young friend.

. Cathal.Fred.1   Cathal.Fred.2

The poetry in him, the goodness, the sensitivity, the concern for others. Cathal.JulesThe brutality of his life choices.  The never-ending cycle that he could not break.

Cathal.2

The scene with his father, the end of hope.

Cathal.7    Cathal.1

The scene on the beach , the cruelty, the loneliness … the glint of blue behind the tear filled eye.

The moments of Cathal in his coffin revealing the innocence underlying his suffering.

Cathal.end

All these memories come back full and strong.  We cannot leave them behind.  Cathal has become more than a character in a film.  He is our child, our son, our brother.  The sense of his tragic loss, to us, to Fred, to Jules stays with us long after the curtain closes.

The second time through this film, I noticed particularly that almost every time Cathal used a drug, pot or otherwise, he laid back and looked at the sky … it was repetitive and evident … I thought it a very intentional design on the part of the screenwriter to bring us full circle to Cathal’s end … although, so subtle that I did not observe it until my second viewing. He had taken a “hit” just before the beating … perhaps this was too soon for another …. He was hurt, physically and emotionally; and, I think, his always and only answer was to escape into a world he found more peaceful and accepting. This was done with no thought of what tomorrow would bring … and perhaps the idea of tomorrow was becoming too much for him … but I do not think his intention was to die … simply to escape. I think this may be true of a lot of people who feel too hurt to allow themselves to become fully conscious of the cruelty around them. I think revealing this suffering was the intention of the writer and may have been what attracted Colin to the role.

Cathal.seaside…. And so, this beautiful boy sought relief … laid back upon the earth, and once again beheld the stars.

Parked … Interview at IFFMH

This interview is a big favorite of mine.  I have saved and watched it many, many times over the years since it was first published in November 2011.  It had been difficult to understand in some places, but now the wonderful Koushuidou Fansubgroup has published it again with English subtitles.  This interview is in 5 parts … every one of them well worth the time.  I predict you will watch it many times, learn a lot … and fall in love with Colin over and over again!

(Apparently YouTube has removed the ability to post this as a playlist, but the individual links still work, one at a time.  So, I have provided the links to all 5 parts and have embedded the 3rd one for this posting.  This 3rd part is the one where Colin speaks of his preparation for the role.)

International Film Festival, Mannheim, Germany, November 2011

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